Sep 22, 2017

MCDI Participates in MalariaCare Closeout Meeting

On September 20, 2017, MCDI home office and field staff participated in MalariaCare's close out conference at PATH's D.C. offices. MalariaCare is a President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) project focusing on case management quality assurance that began in 2012 and is coming to a close this fall. The project is a partnership with PATH as the prime recipient, with MCDI, PSI and Save the Children as subrecipients. Over 60 individuals attended the event, which featured presentations from partner organizations, knowledge café sessions, and panel discussions.

During the first session of the close out conference, MCDI Senior Project Manager Dr. Luis Benavente summarized a detailed presentation prepared by MCDI's Senior Health and M&E Officer Dr. Pharath Lim and Senior Program Manager Lee Yellott on MCDI's experience in strengthening malaria diagnosis throughout the course of the project. These accomplishments include the following: Dr. Benavente and MCDI Technical Manager Nicole Whitehurst collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) in updating global policies for malaria microscopy, outreach training, and supportive supervision (OTSS); Mrs. Whitehurst also authored the OTSS chapter in the second version of WHO's malaria microscopy quality assurance manual; providing supported countries with technical assistance in developing slide sets of known composition, later used in proficiency testing; selecting trainers to be sent for international malaria microscopy accreditation; and developing malaria diagnostics refresher trainings for lab technicians. MCDI also supported trainings in case management for thousands of health workers in Malawi.

During a knowledge sharing café session, two of MCDI's in-country Diagnostics Technical Advisors, Seraphine Kutumbakana (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Victoria Kalota (Zambia) shared their experiences with MalariaCare in small groups. This format allowed interaction and getting fresh perspectives from members from the international health community attending the conference.

One of the conference's panel discussions included Dr. Benavente, representing MCDI in a panel moderated by MalariaCare Director Paul Hamilton. The panel discussed many of the lessons learned from the project, including evaluating the use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) versus primarily using microscopy. The panel also stimulated participants to come with new ideas for MalariaCare's follow-on project. The collegial dialogue demonstrated the willingness of the international health community to share lessons learned, innovative approaches and tools that can be used to continue improving the access to and utilization of quality malaria diagnosis and treatment.

Kutumbakana and Kalota (left) and Dr. Lim (right) participate in the knowledge café session.

Dr. Benavente presents a summary of MCDI's participation in MalariaCare to the conference.

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